BUFFALO, N.Y. — "Snow days" may not be much of a concern for many Western New York schools this academic year, and it has nothing to do with any sort of climate change.
With school districts having had to develop remote learning for some or all of their students due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those students have the ability to learn online from home, no matter how cold or snowy the weather may be.
"I don't think we're going to have to call snow days very much anymore because every student has a device that synced with teaching and learning so the need to have a snow day is no longer an issue," said Niagara Falls Superintendent of Schools Mark Laurrie.
That is not to say, however, that other weather events could not scuttle schooling.
Laurrie noted, for example, that a storm (during any part of the academic year) that causing widespread power outages could interrupt even learning from home.
"Because that could affect the power going to a a student's laptop or the power that they are using to connect in some way," he said.
The state education department recently issued guidelines for schools, but in keeping with much of what it's done so far, it will leave decisions regarding snow days pretty much up to the individual school districts, who at least have some time to ponder this.
"It is something to think about," Laurrie said. "But is it paramount right now, as we get our remote learning for 2,400 students up and running? The answer to that question is, 'no.'"